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Caught between the harsh winter and the aggressive Chinese, Indian nomads in Ladakh struggle for survival but this winter, the Indian Army has quietly helped them stay put right on the border but they need much more help.

For Punnamyung and his family in Ladakh , winter is the most difficult period of the year. His cattle have very little grass to graze on.

So, Punnamyung and other nomads like him have no choice but to move across the Indus very close to the ‘Line of Actual Control’ with China.

That is where the trouble began in 2008 when soldiers of the Peoples Liberation Army asked the Indian nomads to move out.

Gureng, an Indian nomad says, “Last year, this was our place, but the Chinese Army drove us away, uprooted our tents. It made our lives very difficult.”
Alarmed by the aggressive Chinese posturing last year, the Indian Army effectively intervened in 2009.

“The Indian army supports us. They didn’t drive us away. We could go wherever we wanted.”, added Gureng.

This winter has clearly been different. The nomads have pitched their tents much closer to the ‘LAC’ than ever before and the Chinese have remained quiet.
Demchok is the last village on the actual line of control between India and China and one can easily make out that this village lacks even the basic amenities. Clearly the civil administration is absent here and if the administration wants these people to be on the side of the Indian government, they will need to do much more.

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